The Importance of Customer Reviews and Reputation Management
What’s the first thing you do when considering purchasing a new product or working with a new company? Get online and search for reviews, of course - and you’re not alone. Almost 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. When determining whether or not to use a local business, 93% of local consumers use reviews to make that decision. Customer reviews are an integral part of a company’s brand reputation, and can have a huge effect on their business.
Why are Customer Reviews Important?
Customer reviews affect a company’s brand reputation.
Online customer reviews are an important component of an organization’s online brand reputation. Many review sites rank high on search engines due to their search engine optimization strategy. If someone searches the name of a company and the word “reviews,” these review sites will often be the first results - and the reviews on those sites may very well form the first impression of a company in the prospect’s mind.
Customer reviews can increase a company’s customer base and revenue - or the opposite.
Consumers often trust consumer reviews more than the information a company disseminates across its “official” social media channels and website, because they expect online content from brands to have the goal of driving sales. While many consumers decide to purchase a product or engage with a business based on recommendations from family or friends, studies show 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
On the popular review site Yelp, a one-star increase leads to a 5% to 9% increase in a business’s revenue. Conversely, one negative review on the platform can cost a business 30 customers. When you consider that 26,380 reviews are posted by Yelp users every minute, you can see the huge effect online reviews can have on a business’s customer base and revenue.
How Do Businesses Acquire Positive Customer Reviews?
While a business can hope that their customers take the initiative to post positive reviews about the company or product on their own, this is not the most efficient approach, as most consumers won’t leave a review unprompted. However, 77% of customers would be willing to leave a review if asked.
OpenEdge helps businesses solve that problem with our OpenEdge Callpop product. This product has a feature that integrates into your software and allows businesses to send review requests to their customers with a custom message. Businesses can text customers a link directly to Google’s review page or Facebook’s review page for the business, asking them to leave a review. This feature helps increase the number of online reviews, thus helping the company be seen by more prospects and acquire new customers.
Best Practices for Reputation Management with Customer Reviews
Businesses should use positive customer reviews in marketing efforts.
Social proof is “the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing.” By featuring customer reviews in marketing collateral, on a website, or on social media platforms, a company builds trust and credibility with their prospects.
Positive customer reviews make great testimonials, which businesses can use for content marketing purposes. Businesses can share these reviews across their website and use them to create posts for their social media channels. They can even include them in the material for their email marketing campaigns, adding social proof that helps build confidence in the business.
Businesses can also turn happy customers into brand ambassadors. These ambassadors can create guest blogs for the company, or, if they have a large social media presence, they can post about the company or product on their own social channels.
Businesses should respond professionally to negative customer reviews.
While businesses always try to keep their customers satisfied, it’s inevitable that they will have an unhappy customer - and that this unhappy customer will leave a negative review on one of the many review sites available online. Here are some tips on how businesses should deal with negative reviews:
Monitor review sites regularly - Search for their company profile on the main review sites for their industry. Often, they are able to claim the profile for free and sign up for email alerts when a new customer review is posted.
Respond quickly - Consumers leaving negative reviews want to be heard. If businesses procrastinate on replying to a negative review, the consumer’s negative feelings can be compounded.
Correct inaccuracies, but be real - If the consumer has incorrect facts or policies, businesses should correct those when responding, but also acknowledge that the consumer had a subpar experience.
Highlight strengths - The response should mention some of the business’s strengths, and if appropriate, should inform the customer what is being done to correct a perceived company weakness.
Write like a person, not a corporation - While it may be helpful to have a go-to response template for negative reviews, businesses should make sure to tweak the response language to personalize it for each response. A canned, copy-and-paste response to every negative review comes across to consumers as disingenuous.
Take it offline - While it may be appropriate to address some parts of a negative review publicly, it’s also advisable for the business to ask the reviewer to contact them privately so they can address their concerns.
Be consistent - Businesses should use a uniform tone of voice, and be consistent in the content of their responses. (For example, they should not offer one solution to one reviewer, and a different solution to another reviewer with the same complaint.)
Customer reviews are an essential part of a company’s brand reputation, and can have a large effect on their business. OpenEdge CallPop is an essential part of creating a strategy for businesses to acquire reviews and a detailed plan for responding to them.
Adding these features to a software solution provides ISVs with a more robust offering for their merchants. It provides a smarter, easier way to integrate better communication methods into an existing business or practice management software - thus improving customer engagement and increasing revenue for merchants. For more information on this and other features, contact us today.